Sunday, August 03, 2014

If I Told You What This Post Was About, You Wouldn't Read It

A lot of press has been given the Palestinian position, which I mostly agree with.  They have been oppressed as a people, invaded by a foreign land, stripped of their own homes, their own land and made refugees in their own land.

I also appreciate the Israeli position.  They have been attacked ever since they became a nation, which they did by legal means. They feel unsafe in their own homes. And innocents have been attacked for the errors of a few.  What are these errors?  The attacking of a whole people for the oppressive judgments of a few.  This is a crime both sides have committed.

I feel the plight of women, who are still second-class citizens after decades of speech about freedom.  And African Americans, especially the men, who are incarcerated in greater rates than any other social group.  It seems as if slavery for them has not yet ended.

The racial hatred against immigrants, legal or illegal is horrible.  We should love all people and care for those coming to us as our brothers and sisters.

I hope that we all speak out on these issues and so change the society in which we live.  But that is not enough.  I'm sorry, but if we look at all these issues and stand up for them but ignore the plight of the homeless in our community, then I don't know what is wrong with us.

The homeless are judged before they ever speak or act.  Dr. Susan Fiske, a well-known sociologist says that the homeless are seen, by the average American, as "a pile of garbage."

The average American treats the homeless as a pile of garbage, not talking to them or trying to understand their position, but judging them and wanting them to go away.

The average American is also afraid of the homeless, thinking that they might attack them.  For this reason, the homeless are killed and tased by police officers in every city of the United States, so the homeless might not attack them back.

The homeless are not given any space to live or sleep.  If they establish a camp, even if that camp is on unused public land, they are told to move by citizens who call the police, because the homeless aren't given equal rights to those who live in homes.

The homeless lose their homes every day in every city in the United States.  They are sometimes given fair notice, but just as often given just a half hour to move everything they have.

Even those who serve the homeless are being fined because they sacrifice their time and resources to those in need.

Again, I think that we should discuss Palestinian rights.  We should fight for African Americans to be freed from incarceration that they don't deserve.  We should work for equal rights for women. We should do all we can to help our country care for immigrants. But we should not forget the homeless, the prejudice against which is so extreme that "they skew the data so they don't fit on the chart."  The homeless are African Americans, they are women, they are immigrants, they are oppressed, they are suffering from a war they never fought in.  They live in our neighborhoods.  We often pass them by.  Let's do something.


Steven D said...


Two serious questions (among others that still swim in my head):

1. As Jesus gave the great commission to go and make disciples of all nations, would you suggest that the burden of responsibility for the Christian to minister to the homeless should trump this command? If so, could you explain?

2. Presuming that the responsibility for Christians to obey Jesus' command to go and make disciples is still a pending responsibility (as I do), may not one also expect to encounter homeless to engage in the midst of other communities? (Such is my experience.)

[If you don't have time to give an answer, or simply don't find my thoughts suitable for posting/engaging, no pressure--I understand.]


Steve Kimes said...

Hey, Steven...

The command is to make disciples, certainly. What is the meat of that command? "Teaching them to do all that I commanded you." And what is Jesus' commands? "Love your neighbor as yourself" "Sell your possessions and give to the poor" as well as many, many others that indicate to help the needy among us IS discipleship. Is that the whole of discipleship? No. But it is essential. To be merciful, to be compassionate, to look into the eyes of the needy and to give, to listen to needs, to heal, to live with the outcast, to fellowship with sinners... this is to be like Jesus, which is true discipleship.

Steven D said...

Thanks Steve, I appreciate that. While the focus is upon "teaching them to observe all things" that Jesus taught, still there appears to be something to the command to "go into all the world"...After all, in some sense this is also one of those things that Jesus commanded. Meanwhile, I couldn't agree more with your answer.


Steve Kimes said...

Technically, in the Greek, the "go" part of the command is a participle, not an imperative. This might imply a statement of, "Yeah, you (plural) will be going all over the world, and wherever you go, you must (imperative) make disciples." Although all the disciples scattered throughout the world, James, the brother of Jesus, stayed in Jerusalem. Where we go is a matter of calling. What we do, is obey and teach Jesus' teachings of mercy . :)

Steven D said...

(Looking for the thumbs up button)!

Thanks again...